Online Bible Commentary
The Sin of Lying
Daniel 6:1 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to be over the whole kingdom; 2 and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account to them, so that the king would suffer no loss. 3 Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm. 4 So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him. 5 Then these men said, "We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God." 6 So these governors and satraps thronged before the king, and said thus to him: "King Darius, live forever! 7 All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. 8 Now, O king, establish the decree and sign the writing, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter." 9 Therefore King Darius signed the written decree. (NKJV)
After Cyrus the Great of Persia conquered Babylon, the Babylonian Empire became a part of the Medo-Persian Empire. “Darius the Mede”, a historical question mark, ruled Babylon.
Scripture tells us that Darius the Mede was “the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes” (Dan. 9:1). Darius could have been a son, grandson, or even great grandson of Ahasuerus.
Ahasuerus was also known as Cyaxares, the conqueror of Ninevah. He came to power in 634 B.C. He had a son named Astyages. Astyages was the last king of the Medes. He was defeated by Cyrus the Great, his grandson, about 550 B.C and the Persian Empire was birthed.
The 1st century Jewish historian Joseph, followed later by the early Christian Church Father Jerome claimed that Darius the Mede was a son of Astyages. Since this Darius is not found in official records, current historians mention two possibilities for the identity of the Darius mentioned in the book of Daniel; Cyrus the Great and Gubaru, the Persian general who was the first to enter Babylon. Genealogies would seem to favor that this Darius was Cyrus, the grandson of Astyages and great grandson of Ahasuerus.
Darius “set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps” (v.1). These were lesser officials mainly in charge of collecting taxes. He set three “governors”, trustworthy administrators, over the satraps, “of whom Daniel was one” (v. 2).
Because of Daniel’s “excellent spirit”, King Darius thought of setting Daniel “over the whole realm” (v. 3). The other governors and the satraps were envious of Daniel. They tried to find fault in him but could not “because he was faithful” to God (v.4). Their only alternative was to use his faithfulness against him (v. 5).
So they concocted a story that “the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors”, including Daniel, agreed that all subjects should worship the king for thirty days, and not any other gods (vv. 6-7a). They wrote a decree wherein a law would be established. Those who broke this law would be “cast into the den of lions” (v. 7b). The king agreed and signed the decree (vv. 8-9).
So, it was politics as usual among the leaders of the kingdom. The leaders were envious that one, Daniel, had found favor and decided to destroy him through lies and deceit. Envy and the politics of destruction through lies are also alive and well in the politics of today.
Envy is a terrible sin. It leads to other sins. In this case it led to the sins of lying and deceit. Lying destroys trust, and can destroy people. It can destroy reputations, and lives.
Not only that, the one who lies is eventually found out. When you lie you always have to remember the lie and to whom you told it. Eventually you will mess up.
The best course of action is to never lie. Even white lies can come back to bite you. Once you are found out, and you will be, you will lose trust with those to whom you told the lie.
Most importantly, the sin of lying separates us from God. God did not establish sins to rob us from having fun. He established sins to keep us out of trouble, with Him and with others. If we want to be blessed, we need to stay out of trouble with God.